Three points finishes for Morgan

Ribchester Rocket Adam Morgan powered his way to three points-scoring finishes at Rockingham, Northants, in the latest three rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in his WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Qualifying for the opening race at the unique circuit, a combination of the banked oval and twisty infield, was held in torrentially wet conditions and included a mid-session stoppage when track conditions became unsafe. Adam, undaunted, powered his Ciceley Motorsport prepared Mercedes-Benz A-Class to ninth fastest time, content with both his pace and the car’s improved performance in wet, an area in which the Ciceley Racing team had struggled in the past.

Race day dawned bright and sunny in contrast and Adam started the opening race on the harder, option, tyre that has to be used once by each driver across the three contests. However, it proved to be difficult to extract the best performance from it as the Dunlop rubber took a long time to work fully, meaning that Adam lost ground early in the race to the drivers starting on the standard tyre. Adam found himself having to manage the situation as best he could and dropped to 13th place, the second-best of the drivers on the harder tyre.

“The tyre never came in,? said Adam. “That put us on the back foot so I had to manage the race as best I could.?

From 13th on the grid for race two, Adam was on the preferred tyre and set about moving forwards. He battled into the top 10 and then tried to find a way past fellow Mercedes driver Aiden Moffat. Moffat defended stoically and it took Adam until lap 13 of 16 before he finally wriggled past the sister car. Eighth was Adam’s reward but he missed out on a pole on the reverse grid by one place, as it was seventh placed Aron Smith who benefitted.

 “The car had good race pace,? confirmed Adam. “I knew I could make progress but then I got stuck behind Aiden and we have no team orders so I had to work a way past. That took a long time as he was really defensive and by the time I was through, there was no more time to make more progress. If I could have got by sooner, I reckon I could have gone better.?

Adam started the final race eighth on the grid and the MAC Tools-backed car was in the thick of the action, attacking and defending all race long. As Adam tried to find a way past traffic,
others behind snapped at his heels and after three safety car periods, he battled home in a frustrated 7th place.

“The safety car periods didn’t help,? Adam explained. “It gave those on the harder tyres a chance to preserve them and so we didn’t gain the advantage we expected. That, plus some really hard fighting, made it a tough race but at least it was a weekend with three points-scoring finishes and not much damage. On balance it was a case of nearly, but not quite: we came away with less than we could have done, but we will battle on at Silverstone.?

WIX Racing’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “We have had some fantastic racing this weekend and Adam delivered in style for our guests. He was always on the attack, never giving up, never settling for a place but pushing all the time. The fact that Adam is consistently in the leading group, trading places with multiple touring car champions, illustrates just how far the Ribchester Rocket has come in his time in the BTCC and we look forward to seeing the FAI Backed Mercedes running at the front at Silverstone.?

The next rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship are at Silverstone, Northants, on September 17/18, but a week before that, Adam will be in action in a very different touring car when he races an Austin A35 at the Goodwood Revival.

Images provided by B2pjk Media

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